Official Trailer for WWE’s 2019 ANDRE THE GIANT DVD, Review of ‘Best of RAW & SD LIVE 2018’ DVD

February 14, 2019 by Mark Armstrong

WWE Andre The Giant - Doing It Like A Giant!

Behold! It’s the official trailer for the 8th wonder of the world, “Andre The Giant”.

This WWE/HBO Sports collaboration is set for release on DVD worldwide beginning May 2019 and it will include the recent documentary feature on Andre along with 7 of his biggest matches.

ANDRE THE GIANT

From HBO Sports, WWE, JMH Films and Ringer Films comes Andre The Giant, a documentary examining the life and career of one of the most beloved legends in WWE history.

The ambitious, wide-ranging film explores Andre’s upbringing in France, his celebrated WWE career and his forays into the entertainment world. It includes interviews with Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Billy Crystal, Rob Reiner, family members and more.

WWE 2019 Andre The Giant DVD - Full Cover Artwork


Let’s take a look now at this week’s WWE DVD — “The Best of RAW & SmackDown Live 2018”.


“The Best of RAW & SmackDown” is a straight-forward collection of matches from the weekly TV shows encompassing a calendar year, and the same formula applies for the 2018 edition. We get more than 20 bouts from January through to November (the release date of this DVD apparently precludes content from December being thrown in), along with a few segments that made fans smile (Daniel Bryan being cleared to return), laugh (the Seattle fans drowning Elias and Kevin Owens in boos) and cringe (Dean Ambrose’s promo about why he left The Shield, which included a reference to Roman Reigns’ leukaemia).

With over 9 hours of content, we certainly aren’t short-changed in terms of how many matches are here, but are they any good on the whole? It’s time for the review!

 
THE MATCHES

WWE RAW – January 1, 2018
United States Championship Match

Roman Reigns (C) vs. Samoa Joe

This was held on New Year’s Day, and this forgotten gem kicked off 2018 with a bang. The outcome was in question, given the fact that Joe had not been defeated by Reigns up to this point, and the action is very rewarding. If only this could have been the match that would headline Backlash a few months later.

WWE 'Best of RAW & SmackDown Live 2018' DVD - Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

WWE SmackDown Live – January 16, 2018
United States Championship Tournament Final

Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal

This was the final of a tournament to crown a new United States Champion, though then-General Manager Daniel Bryan decided to bring the match forward from the planned destination of Royal Rumble. At the time, this seemed like the genesis for a big push for Roode; it didn’t quite turn out that way, even though he and Chad Gable have held the RAW Tag Team Championships.

WWE RAW – January 29, 2018
Asuka vs. Sasha Banks

Asuka had just won the first women’s Royal Rumble match, with her celebration being interrupted by the debuting Ronda Rousey, who pointed at a sign. Despite the hype for her arrival, Ronda didn’t appear on the post-Rumble RAW, but we did get this top-notch women’s division contest, one which saw Sasha take some major risks and bumps.

WWE - Sasha Banks & Asuka Destroy Each Other In A Match!

WWE RAW – February 5, 2018
Asuka vs. Bayley

One week later, The Empress Of Tomorrow took on Sasha’s bestie Bayley. The Hugger had previously clashed with Asuka towards the end of her NXT stint, and it was cool to see the two of them go at it once again on the main roster. Indeed, it’s an entertaining battle, though it is a step below the previous Asuka/Sasha bout.

WWE SmackDown Live – February 27, 2018
AJ Styles vs. John Cena

This was part of the storyline where Cena was desperate to get to WrestleMania, and that included trying to get into the Fastlane main event by beating AJ here. And that he did, though Styles would ultimately win the subsequent PPV showdown to retain his WWE Title and leave some egg on Cena’s face (not that we’d know, since we can’t see him).

WWE - Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn Watch John Cena vs. AJ Styles Match on TV Screen

WWE RAW – April 9, 2018
Ember Moon & Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James

This was the post-WrestleMania episode of RAW, and so we had an NXT call-up here in the form of Ember Moon, who ends up getting the winning pinfall for her team. It’s fair to say that WWE hasn’t given as much attention to Moon as she deserves, though I expect her profile to rise beyond Mania this year once the Ronda/Becky Lynch storyline has been wrapped up (Becky vs. Ember could be something special).

WWE SmackDown Live – April 10, 2018
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match

Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Carmella

Twenty-four hours later, on the post-Mania edition of SmackDown, Carmella cashed in Money in the Bank on Charlotte, after an assault by two more call-ups in The IIconics, to capture the SD Women’s crown. My only issue with this was how predictable it was; as soon as Billie Kay and Peyton Royce marched to the ring, you sensed that it would be Carmella’s time, which flies in the face of MITB being a device to create something unexpected and unprecedented.

WWE SmackDown Live – April 10, 2018
AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan

That same night, we had Daniel Bryan’s first non-PPV match since 2015, and his first WWE battle against AJ. It felt rushed at the time, but it’s still a more-than-adequate meeting of two of WWE’s very best in-ring performers. Shinsuke Nakamura, who had just turned heel, interrupts to cause a non-finish, and at the time, people wondered when we would get a Bryan vs. Nakamura showdown. Ten months later, we’re still wondering, especially since both are now villains.

WWE - Bloody Daniel Bryan Doing The 'YES!' Arm Signal
WWE 'Best of RAW & SmackDown Live 2018' DVD - Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

WWE RAW – April 30, 2018
Intercontinental Championship Match

Seth Rollins (C) vs. Finn Bálor

One of the downsides of the weekly three-hour RAWs is how genuinely great matches can be easily forgotten because we’re so accustomed to long encounters based on high work-rate and multiple near-falls. Even so, this IC Title match stood out, at a time when Rollins was on fire, and it’s arguably the best TV match of 2018 for WWE.

WWE RAW – May 7, 2018
Money In The Bank Qualifying Match

Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens

I mentioned how matches can be forgotten previously. Well, until I watched this DVD, I had absolutely no recollection of this particular battle between Strowman and Owens, with a spot in the men’s MITB match at stake. In hindsight, had the Braun-KO storyline ended here, few fans would have complained.

WWE SmackDown Live – May 15, 2018
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Disc one ends with a WrestleMania rematch, held in London, and with Shinsuke getting his only televised victory over AJ. It’s a strong bout, though still a shade below what many felt the two were capable of. That this was their fourth televised contest inside six weeks didn’t help either, but it’s still worth checking out.

WWE SmackDown Live – May 29, 2018
Six-Man Tag Team Match

The New Day vs. The Miz & The Bar

Because The Miz is such a great heel, around this time, he was needling The New Day about which member would be in the MITB match in an attempt to create tension. Kofi Kingston ended up being the selected party, but before that, the threesome proved just how harmonious their bond was and remains, and also how good they are in the ring by putting on a thrilling match against Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro.

WWE - Samoa Joe And Daniel Bryan Wrestling Each Other In WWE!
WWE - Daniel Bryan With A Dragon Sleeper on Big E!

WWE SmackDown Live – June 19, 2018
#1 Contender’s Gauntlet Match

Big E vs. Samoa Joe vs. Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz vs. Rusev

RAW’s Braun Strowman ended up winning MITB, and AJ completed his rivalry with Nakamura with a Last Man Standing victory, all of which meant that SmackDown needed to determine a new number one contender for the WWE Championship. This Gauntlet match served that purpose, as well as advancing other storylines (such as setting the stage for the upcoming Miz-Bryan feud), and Rusev’s eventual triumph was a very welcome surprise.

WWE RAW – June 25, 2018
Intercontinental Championship Match

Dolph Ziggler (C) vs. Seth Rollins

Another shock occurred 24 hours earlier when Dolph Ziggler captured the IC crown from Seth Rollins. This would lead to a series of matches between the two that would go on for months, ranging from excellent to rather dull. This was one of their better contests, though, and fans are truly invested into the action from the opening bell. Good stuff.

WWE SmackDown Live – July 17, 2018
United States Championship Match

Shinsuke Nakamura (C) vs. Jeff Hardy

At Extreme Rules, Shinsuke pinned Jeff Hardy in a matter of seconds following a pre-match low blow. The two would have a proper match in the main event slot of SmackDown two nights later. It’s well-worked, though not as good as the previous Ziggler-Rollins match, and Shinsuke ultimately manages to hold onto the US Title. This would lead to a rematch at SummerSlam, where Nakamura would win once more.

WWE 'Best of RAW & SmackDown Live 2018' DVD - Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

WWE RAW – July 23, 2018
#1 Contender’s Tournament Final

Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns

After “Bob” pinned Roman at Extreme Rules, he received more momentum than at any point since his WWE comeback. But eight days later, he would lose a rematch to Reigns that had higher stakes: a showdown with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam for the Universal crown. Roman was victorious, which didn’t please many fans at the time, though this is still an underrated Raw main event with a big-fight feel.

WWE RAW – August 6, 2018
Ronda Rousey vs. Alicia Fox

It seems strange to look back now, since Ronda competes on RAW almost every week, but it took more than six months for WWE to put Ronda in action on regular TV. No doubt, this was partly due to Rousey still learning on the job prior to this, but it’s funny considering how everybody assumed, even at that point, that she would not wrestle a full-time schedule. Anyway, she picks up the obvious win here, ahead of her becoming RAW Women’s Champion at Alexa Bliss’ expense at SummerSlam.

WWE - Ronda Rousey's First Match on RAW Against Alicia Fox, Destroys Her!

WWE SmackDown Live – August 7, 2018
#1 Contender’s Tag Team Tournament Final

The New Day vs. The Bar

SmackDown held another tournament around this time to determine who would face The Bludgeon Brothers for the SD Tag Team Titles at SummerSlam. The New Day and The Bar reached the final stage, and what the contest lacked in originality, they made up for with great action and excitement, as The New Day picked up the win to earn another title opportunity.

WWE RAW – August 20, 2018
Universal Championship Match

Roman Reigns (C) vs. Finn Bálor

Finn Bálor stepped up as Roman Reigns’ first challenger for the Universal Championship, and the two put on a very good main event as Bálor gave it his all in an attempt to regain the title he was forced to vacate due to injury. Roman wins, and is threatened post-match by a MITB briefcase-wielding Strowman, only for a reunited Shield to save the day in a genuine surprise.

WWE - The Shield Reunite in 2018 to Stop Braun Strowman Cashing In Money in the Bank Briefcase!

WWE SmackDown Live – August 21, 2018
SmackDown Tag Team Championship No Disqualification Match

The Bludgeon Brothers (C) vs. The New Day

Though New Day were unable to unseat The Bludgeons at SummerSlam due to BB getting disqualified, they were able to capture the blue and silver title belts in a No DQ rematch. This was mainly due to an injury that sidelined Rowan, thus necessitating a title change, and he has only recently resurfaced as Daniel Bryan’s new bodyguard, while Harper remains in the WWE wilderness as far as fans of the weekly television shows are concerned.

WWE RAW – August 27, 2018
Intercontinental Championship Match

Seth Rollins (C) vs. Kevin Owens

I personally preferred the match that these two had on RAW a few months earlier in London (partly because I was there to see it), but this is another strong bout in front of a super-hot crowd in Canada. Post-match, KO decided to “quit”, which could have set up a very intriguing storyline. Instead, he returned one week later as if nothing had ever happened.

WWE - Sad Kevin Owens Sitting In Chair, Quits WWE!

WWE SmackDown Live – September 4, 2018
Daniel Bryan vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas

For his first few months on SmackDown, Andrade was given very little opportunity to showcase the skills that made him one of the highlights of NXT. This battle against D-Bryan was the beginning of a slow reversal in his fortunes, as the two men put on one hell of a TV contest. If Andrade ever turns face, or if Bryan turns back face, this is a rivalry I would like to see.

WWE SmackDown Live – September 18, 2018
United States Championship Match

Shinsuke Nakamura (C) vs. Rusev

Putting aside this segment of the DVD for a moment, is it not crazy that the Shinsuke-Rusev storyline began in mid-to-late September, yet (aside from a Kick-Off Show battle at Crown Jewel) their hostilities only really entered the ring in December? And crazier still, little more than a month later, Rusev is now a heel and teaming with Shinsuke, who played a key role in injuring his wife Lana? I don’t have an explanation for all this, so let’s move on.

WWE RAW – September 24, 2018
RAW Tag Team Championship Match

Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre (C) vs. The Revival

Heel vs. heel matches don’t usually work that well, though in the storyline, The Revival had earned a title shot which bullying heels Dolph and Drew had snatched away by force, leading to this showdown. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder were favoured by the crowd more than their opponents here, and it’s a fun match, though Ziggler and McIntyre managed to prevent a Revival title win, something the challengers are still looking for now.

WWE - Dolph Ziggler And Drew McIntyre Holding Tag Team Championship Titles
WWE - Becky Lynch Speared Through SmackDown Stage by Charlotte Flair!

WWE SmackDown Live – October 9, 2018
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match

Becky Lynch (C) vs. Charlotte Flair

The hottest WWE feud of the autumn season concerned Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, who put on some of the best women’s matches of this era. One of their battles occurred here, on the 999th episode of SmackDown, and results in a big schmozz (to quote Bret Hart) that leads to Charlotte spearing Becky through the entrance way, cutting her hand pretty badly in the process.

WWE SmackDown Live – October 9, 2018
WWE World Cup Qualifying Match

Big Show vs. Randy Orton

I’m not really sure why this match is here, other than their collective star power. It’s a quick filler match, won relatively easy by Orton following an RKO, and that was that. I’m guessing the production team had a few minutes of space left over, hence the reason why this bout was included.

WWE RAW – October 22, 2018
RAW Tag Team Championship Match

Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre (C) vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose

Emotions were high for this one, following Roman Reigns announcing earlier in the night that he would be vacating the Universal Championship to battle leukaemia. This meant that fans were hoping for a feel-good title change for his Shield brothers, and that is what we get… only for Ambrose to turn heel on Seth in a jaw-dropping moment. That their feud was a letdown, and that Dean is leaving WWE after WrestleMania, should not take away the impact of this heel turn, which was one of the most memorable in modern history.

WWE - Dean Ambrose Shocking Heel Turn, Beats Up Seth Rollins!
WWE - Trish Stratus & Lita Reunite And Tag Together on RAW in 2018!

WWE RAW – October 29, 2018
Ten-Woman Tag Team Match

Trish Stratus, Lita, Bayley, Sasha Banks & Natalya vs. Alicia Fox, Mickie James & The Riott Squad

Trish Stratus and Lita’s in-ring returns were somewhat glossed over due to everything else going on in the women’s division at that time. And they popped up again as part of this ten-woman attraction the night after the all-women’s PPV Evolution, with Lita pulling off arguably her best ever moonsault en route to the finish.

WWE RAW – November 5, 2018
Kurt Angle vs. Drew McIntyre

This was a great example of a respected veteran with name value truly putting over a younger star, and in such a manner that it only makes you despise the heel even more. It is a little sad to watch if you saw Kurt at his peak, but the layout of the match could not have done more to make McIntyre look strong. If Drew eventually does capture a top title in WWE, this contest will be deemed a crucial part of his journey to the gold.

WWE SmackDown Live – November 6, 2018
Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas

On paper, this was just another match, and a way to build up Rey as a member of Team SmackDown for Survivor Series. In practice, though, it’s a fantastic little bout, with all sorts of flying and high spots from both men. Rey wins in what would be a preview of their even better SmackDown clashes at the beginning of 2019; the two are still feuding now, which will probably lead to their best battles yet at an upcoming PPV.

WWE - Daniel Bryan Turns Heel on AJ Styles, Wins The WWE Championship!

WWE SmackDown Live – November 13, 2018
WWE Championship Match

AJ Styles (C) vs. Daniel Bryan

Fittingly, the DVD ends with the most important TV match of 2018, as AJ Styles’ long WWE Championship reign comes to an abrupt end at the hands of Daniel Bryan (or rather the legs, as a boot to the balls and a running knee ends the contest). Bryan turning heel was a real jolt, especially to those hoping that he would have a fairytale comeback leading to a babyface WWE Title win, but Bryan has been a terrific heel ever since, and so in hindsight, this title change was the right decision, even if the timing was a bit peculiar.

 
THE VERDICT

As is usually the case for this annual series, “The Best of RAW & SmackDown Live 2018” is more than acceptable from a match quality standpoint, with plenty of notable encounters. We get a fair few barnburners from Seth Rollins, some important showdowns involving AJ Styles, and several examples as to why the women’s division in WWE is at an all-time peak.

I was disappointed at the lack of content from SmackDown 1000 (I can forgive RAW 25 being omitted due to that show having its own DVD), and I found that many of the matches were very similar, even the best ones. A match is more likely to leave a lasting impression if it offers something different, which is why Angle vs. McIntyre is more memorable than, say, Rollins vs. Owens, even though the latter bout was more exciting. Nevertheless, for fans who have followed this Home Video series since it began at the beginning of this decade, this is another jam-packed compilation and one that is worthy of your attention. I wouldn’t suggest that it is must-see, but it does provide plenty of entertainment.

WWE 'The Best of RAW & SmackDown 2018' DVD - Available Now!

 
Grab a copy of WWE’s “Best of RAW & SmackDown LIVE 2018″ DVD…

 
United States: RIGHT NOW! Get your RAW/SD 2018 DVD now here on Amazon.com.

UK/Europe: RIGHT NOW! Get your RAW/SD 2018 DVD now on Amazon.co.uk.

Australia: March 20th. Pre-order your RAW/SD 2018 DVD now via Madman.com.au.
 

 




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2 Comments left on this article...

  1. Nicolas Hebert says:

    I was on the RAW on April 30th at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Rollins had a very big POP like Samy Zayn and Kevin Owens. That was a very great match against Balor!

    Can’t wait to go back to the Bell Centre for the first ever International Superstars Shake-up on April 15 and 16 for RAW and Smackdown!

  2. Jeff Copeland says:

    i do agree we should of had something from smackdown 1000. as far as missing matches maybe …. jeff winning us title. rey vs nakamura from smackdown 1000. something with team hell no reuniting. i know we got aj vs bryan after maina but would of prefured there other match smackdown before crown jewel

    other then that this was a damn good set one of better ones along with 2011, 2015 and 2017.

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